Grateful for the reprieve, I drive carefully; no radio. The thermostat in the van reads 48 degrees outside. Warm! I wonder if it will snow before Christmas.
I feel the temple before I see it, dozens of people coming and going. Because of the timing of day, I find a parking space easily. I slip out of the car, leaving my cell phone behind. I walk up the sidewalk and notice, with grateful alarm, the large life-size statues of the Nativity. I make a mental note to stop on the way out to see it better.
Entering the doors of the Provo, Utah Temple, I walk to the front desk. Handing over my temple recommend, an older gentleman behind me mistakes me for someone else. I smile as he hastily apologizes. The recommend desk worker smiles and welcomes me by my married name. I thank him and walk into the sitting area just beyond the desk. I sit down. I wait.
It only takes about a minute; my good friend arrives with smiles and hugs. We walk back to the women’s locker room. We sign up to do Initiatory work. Washings and Anointings. The step before the Endowment. Having received my own twelve years ago, I am here to do it for other people. For more women –my sisters –who have passed from this life.
We sit, we wait, we talk quietly. There are a lot of women here today; the thought makes my heart sing. I wonder who these women are, waiting with us. Do they have young children at home? Did they also have to find a sitter? Do they come often, or not often enough –like me? I also wonder about the women we are doing ordinances for –were they mothers? Aunts? Did they die old? Young? The temple workers call my name.
The feeling I receive when I do temple work is hard to describe. Peace is the closest word. Joy is next. I feel selfish when I go –I may do it for other women, but really, I do it for me. I do it so I can remember. Remember my covenants. Remember my blessings. Remember my joy.
My friend and I leave the temple happier than when we came. We sit on a bench across from the life-size Nativity. We talk of LDS missions as we watch missionaries from the nearby MTC (Missionary Training Center) coming and going to the temple. I comment on their youth. She reminisces on her own mission to South America. Time passes too quickly and it is time to leave.
We part and go back to our lives. We are both mothers; we are both tired. Driving back, I leave the radio off again. I hit every green light but arrive at my neighbor’s house fifteen minutes after I told him I’d be back. His graciousness is evident; he doesn’t mind. His own son had fun; my sons did, too. Hugs, shoes, coats, and we walk across the street home.
I stay in my dress all day. I don’t want to forget.